• Phil Packer

World Champion, Steph Cullen, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Steph has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.


Steph represented Great Britain at three consecutive rowing World Championships; she won silver in 2009 and gold in 2011. She was part of the Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club crew who won the Boat Race in 2003, and Boat Club Captain and President of Hertford College Boatclub.

Steph with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

“As a former student at the University of Oxford, I appreciate that young adults and students experience many mental health challenges; I am also acutely aware that COVID-19 is compounding existing mental health difficulties and life is very tough for those who feel isolated and are vulnerable. With the current situation imposing additional restrictions, pressures and anxieties, there has never been a more important time for us to support the mental health and fitness of young adults.


Young adults and students must receive the right support when they need it, therefore it’s great to see that BRIT has partnered with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and the Charlie Waller Trust. This means that all donations raised by the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between five mental health charities who support students and young adults.


I am delighted that the BRIT 2021 Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enables students and staff of all abilities to take part; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). I hope every UK university, college and student union enters teams in the BRIT 2021 Challenge and encourages their students and staff to take part; at home or on campus.

Olympians, Paralympians and athletes are being invited to join the BRIT Ambassador family so young adults and students at every university and college are inspired to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. This is a fantastic opportunity for current and retired athletes to unite and have a positive UK-wide impact by supporting students at universities and colleges of their choice. There is also huge potential for rowing clubs around the UK to enter teams and encourage all their members to take part.


I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family to help support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. I look forward to encouraging students and staff at every college at the University of Oxford to take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge and supporting them as they complete their 2,021 miles. It would be fantastic if all of Oxford’s 33 colleges enter teams; I urge rowers at Oxford to add the miles they compete, on ergos or the water, to their college team’s 2,021 mile targets.”

Steph celebrating with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

Steph was educated at Bury Grammar School for Girls before studying at Hertford College, Oxford and graduating from the University of Oxford in 2003 with a Master of Chemistry degree.

Never intending on going to the river for the fresher session, a friend of Steph’s invited her down to Hertford College Boatclub. Steph then went on to lead them to a historic blades in Summer Eights 2002, and to be appointed Boat Club Captain and then President.

In 2003, Steph was a member of the Oxford Lightweight Women’s Crew who won the Boat Race by two lengths.

Steph represented Great Britain at three Rowing World Championships; in 2009, she won silver in Poznan and then in 2011, won gold as part of the lightweight quad sculls with Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis.

After the World Championships in 2011, Steph retired from elite rowing to pursue a professional career in the corporate sector.

Since 2018, Steph has been a Performance Coach after gaining a Diploma in Transformational Coaching, with the aim of helping high performance individuals improve their mindset and reach their potential.

Steph with fellow World Champions, Imogen Walsh, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis

To find out more about the rowing, please visit the British Rowing website.